Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester discovered at art school that she had a passion for people and portraiture, which grew into an interest in clothing that led her to study fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Antwerp. She was a member of the radical and distinctive ‘Antwerp Six’, a group of avant-garde designers trained at the Royal Academy - of which Dries Van Noten was also part - who visited London in 1986 to show their collections.
Demeulemeester found success almost immediately after graduating, winning the Gouden Spoel in 1982, an award for the most promising designer that year. The eponymous label was released in 1985, and the first ‘Ann Demeulemeester’ collection was shown in a Parisian art gallery in 1992. A few years later, in 1996, the menswear line had its debut.
The designer is known for her distinctive pieces, which demonstrate elaborate attention to detail and are fabricated using cutting-edge techniques and materials. Demeulemeester’s recurring references include gothic, punk and Japanese styles, but each piece is imbued with the character of her own design aesthetic. These qualities ensure that the brand is an exquisite addition to the Hervia ouvre.
The Autumn Winter 2011 show was inspired by pieces of silver jewellery Demeulemeester had cast from the feet of birds inhabiting her back garden. These enchanting creations led the designer to focus on animals in mythology, in particular the faun; half man, half goat. During the catwalk show, several models walked in head-to-toe goat fur!